Yiyun Li Wins the PEN/Faulkner Award for 2023

Apr 11, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: Kirkus Reviews (by Michael Schaub).

Yiyun Li has won the 2023 PEN/Faulkner Award for her novel The Book of Goose.

Li’s novel, published last September by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, follows Agnès, a woman reflecting on her childhood in the French countryside, following the death of her friend Fabienne. In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus wrote of the book, “Stunners: Li’s memorable duo, their lives, their losses.”

The Book of Goose was previously longlisted for the 2023 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. It beat out four other books for the PEN/Faulkner Award: Jonathan Escoffery’s If I Survive You; Laura Warrell’s Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm; Kathryn Harlan’s Fruiting Bodies, and Dionne Irving’s The Islands.

Li previously won the PEN/Hemingway Award for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award for Where Reasons End, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story.

In a statement, the judges for the award—Christopher Bollen, R.O. Kwon, and Tiphanie Yanique—called The Book of Goose “a dazzling, conventions-defying, nuanced novel,” and said, “The prose is singular; the central characters, Agnès and Fabienne, haunted us with their radical ingenuity and bold, unruly ambitions.”

The PEN/Faulkner Award, given annually to “the best published works of fiction by American permanent residents,” was established in 1981. Previous winners have included Annie Proulx for Postcards, Michael Cunningham for The Hours, and Deesha Philyaw for The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

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